After two years of litigation, Apple has agreed to pay 500$ US million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging it slowed down older iPhones in order to push consumers into buying its later, more expensive models.
The devices covered in the agreement are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and iPhone SE models that ran IOS 10.2.1 or later, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models that ran IOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.
Consumers complained that their IPhones’ performance suffered after they installed the Apple software updates. This misled them into believing their phones were near the end of their life cycles, requiring replacements or new batteries.
Apple blamed the problems on temperature changes, high usage and other issues, and claimed its engineers worked quickly and successfully to address the problems.
In December 2017 it slashed the price of iPhone replacement batteries from $79 to $29. It had planned to make the new pricing applicable in January but apparently in response to customer outrage, it moved up the date to December. The program ended Dec. 31, 2018.
Settlement class members could receive $25 for each iPhone owned. The actual amount they receive will depend on the amount of any attorneys’ fees and expenses, named plaintiff service awards, notice expenses, and the aggregate value of approved claims.
Apple has denied wrongdoing, and has agreed to settle to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation.
Apple has been fined in France and Italy for throttling iPhones.
Meanwhile, Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung are challenging its dominance fiercely in overseas markets.
Apple remains on top, but it’s competitors are now shooting at them from several vantage points, and its hold on its leadership is now threatened more than ever before.
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